A couple of months ago I wrote a piece on how I got back into coaching four years ago, and how I exited. Bookending the story was the Women’s World Cup. The latest one has come and gone. This rendition certainly didn’t elicit the same reactions the 2011 version did. In other words, I didn’t at any time go running through the house screaming. It didn’t hold the same drama especially the final match which I’ll get to later. But, now that it’s over, I definitely have some thoughts to share.
I went into this version in a much different position than I did four years ago. I had been away from the sport from a fan sense for a while in 2011 when that tournament started. This year, I’m more connected to what’s going on in the world of the sport. Even though I didn’t watch a single club match all year, I knew who won all of the major leagues. Ironically, my three favorite teams finished atop the tables in their respective divisions. You might say the soccer gods were chortling at me for choosing not to be a fan this year.
Being a year removed from the men’s version, a version that I thought was one of the most entertaining in several years, I couldn’t really sustain the fandom I had been a part of then. The US men had a fairly remarkable run in the tournament, but still it wasn’t enough to hold my interest. I knew I was winding down my coaching run. I had picked up some new hobbies, and though I was sad to say goodbye to the kids, I had my time filled with new ideas.
As this year’s version was approaching I had not been particularly impressed with the play of the women. I have now seen them three times, and l just don’t find them that entertaining. They’re very limited offensively in the way they attack. They, for my taste, rely to heavily on serving balls into the box for their forwards to find. I don’t see much individual brilliance, or small sided creation. With all of that written, one can’t argue with their success rate. But I need more to be a fan.
So when they were less than impressive with the results, I began to wonder just how well they were going to do this time. I’ve not been a fan of the state of youth development in this country for many years, though I like to think I’ve done my own small part to alter that in a more positive way.
My thoughts as the tournament progressed turned to the impact their play would have on youth development. It’s common to try and emulate a professional team’s style. That’s not really conducive to true development. The more success they had in this year’s spectacle, the more youth teams would move to it, I thought. With every passing match I became more disillusioned. Much like I did in 2011.
So after they hoisted the trophy on that July Sunday in what was an extremely lopsided result, I was left with a very mixed bag of feelings. My thoughts were they played the same similar style, but finally found some finishing luck in this match. It was bound to show up eventually. Time will tell what, if any, real impact it has on youth development here in this country. Then again, since I’m “retired”, I may never see it. Sadly, I can say that after their display, you can’t really count me a fan anymore.